Love & Sex

The Conditional Surrender

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 PERSONAL ESSAYS
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It is one of life's sweetest moments — the first time you see your eager lover unclothed (finally!), lips parted, limbs loose, and everything about their body communicating not only ardent desire, but supreme confidence in you. Ah, the thrill of that first, fresh moment of surrender and consummation! It does not last, cannot last, and so much of what follows seems like a search for a facsimile of it. Inevitably, we crave different and exciting. And — speaking as a forty-seven-year-old, heterosexual male — as regards a woman's anatomy, something different and exciting is located tantalizingly close to the same old-same old. Seriously, you can't miss it.

Certainly, there is a vast divide between fucking and ass-fucking, one that is physical, emotional, and philosophical. (I never like it when sex writers use words like "philosophical," but when writing about bum-fucking, "philosophical" is as inescapable as "ouch.") So as not to get too heady, let's recall Freud's famous remark that "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." But not if someone sticks it in your ass.

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A couple can have sex a hundred times, yet if a bum fuck is their one-hundred-and-first go at it, their affair has taken a philosophical detour that might mark the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end. That first bum fuck is like a game-show dilemma: will you keep what you've won so far, or would you like to take a chance on what's behind the curtain? It might be something good. It might be something. . . unfortunate.

For me, the only time the act seems imperative is in the early stages of an intense, sexual relationship. The impulse is more territorial than amorous: "I want you every last way I can have you. Everything about you must be mine." But once I've established my territorial claim, my attitude is, "Okay, that's mine — but can you just hold on to it for me?" Sometimes lovers have wanted regular ass-fucking, and while I'm nothing if not a sport, I start to feel remote and excluded from the riot of emotion and sensation of which I'm an integral part. It's like the Bob Dylan song: "There's something going on here and you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?"


On the other hand, Mr. Jones could find out what's going on, were he feeling motivated. I dated a woman I'll call Peg. At first I wasn't sure if she and I would click. She seemed very straight-laced, a refined child of privilege educated at elite schools, and socially well-connected in New York as well.

K-Y Jelly, while it may do the trick, is also the stuff they use on rectal thermometers at the nursing home. Barbarella uses Astroglide.

In truth, she was straight-laced, in all but the bum-fucking parts of life. We'd been dating for a little more than a month when, in the middle of one of the rough, energetic fucks we enjoyed, she told me she wanted me to fuck her ass and fuck it hard.

Like I said earlier, a request of this kind marks a philosophical detour for a couple. But Peg was prepared. She reached over to her night table and took out a canvas bag of mystery. I heard the clacking of plastic against plastic as she extracted her container of Astroglide lubricant and a condom. I've always liked the name Astroglide — it sounds like the new and improved formula for Space Age whoop-de-do. K-Y Jelly, while it may do the trick, is also the stuff they use on rectal thermometers at the nursing home. Barbarella uses Astroglide. For all I know, Astroglide is K-Y re-branded for a bum-fucking clientele. Nonetheless, Peg's use of the product signaled that she was a sophisticate. She squeezed some on my cock.

           

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Peg was prepared as soon as she turned herself around, as well. She began giving me curt, specific instructions about what she wanted.

Slide it around.

Put it in — just the tip. . .

Not yet.

More.

Not yet!

Yes, now!

Harder!!

And then, suddenly, no more instructions — instead, a cascade of words telling me what I was doing to her and how it made her feel, language she would repeat every time I fucked her ass, but only then. Words that were private and nasty, a powerful part of her pleasure.

I never cease to be charmed by people's erotic lives — the time and imagination furtively expended exploring the subterranean byways of a particular fascination. When a person first exposes their double life, it's like an invitation down to their basement, where you discover that they have assembled an elaborate diorama of electric trains complete with depots, hand-painted farm animals, and railroad crossings with warning bells and flashing lights. You say: "I had no idea." And they answer: "I don't show this to everyone. But I thought I could show you." And before you know it, you're wearing an engineer's cap and shouting "WOO-WOO! Chugga chugga chugga. . ."

When a person first exposes their erotic life, it's like an invitation down to their basement.

As my affair with Peg progressed, it became clear that ass-fucking was a regular part of what our particular carnal synergy was about. For once, I was able to stay fully engaged; I think because Peg was so committed. As we went along, more and more things started to appear out of her canvas bag of mystery. First came the butt plugs, then the vibrating toys, latex dildos, and various other doohickeys and thing-a-ma-bobs that were marvels of concupiscent industrial design.

Everything began to change, however, when she started to express interest in my ass.

A few direct words about my sexuality. I am a simple man. To enjoy myself, I require few accoutrements, a smattering of mise en scene, and sometimes a glass or two of gin. There are things I just won't do — like everyone else, I guess. What I am is very physical, interested in what you can make my body feel like, what I can make your body feel like, and where that might take us. I enjoy intensity, and discomfort is not necessarily a dealbreaker. I was the kid who used to put all five sticks of Doublemint gum in his mouth at once. Yoga class? Let's do Ashtanga. Indian food? Make mine the vindaloo. In the bedroom, I try things without judging myself or others. Some situations I've enjoyed, sometimes I've felt like a non-smoker smoking a cigarette. Philosophically, trying different modes of sex is kind of like trying a new dance step — "Kids, you liked the Mashed Potato, now let's try the Frug!"

The longer I stayed with Peg, however, the clearer it became that were heading toward a destination. She did some business to me down there, and I liked it — other women had, as well, so what Peg did didn't seem radical or ominous. But I didn't really accept where it all was leading to until Peg and I visited Babeland, the sex emporium on the Lower East Side of New York.

Peg and I were browsing in the video section when we noticed a title called Bend Over Boyfriend, Volume 2: More Rockin', Less Talkin'. The cover showed boyfriend bent over, and girlfriend strapped in, locked and loaded. Peg cracked up when she saw the look on my face, which must have been something like the alarmed expression of Baby Jesus in a Renaissance painting as he passes under the shadow of a cross and experiences an inchoate precognition of his fate.

I put the video back on the rack and shuffled along. There was a long silence between us. Finally, unable to bear it any longer, I asked: "Was that video meant to be instructional or entertainment?"

Peg said: "Yes." And I knew there would be a reckoning.

It took another week or so of Peg's cajoling me ("to cajole," from the French verb "cajoler," which means "to stick stuff up someone's ass") before I finally acquiesced. Ah, gin — so persuasive, so persuasive. As we approached the moment of truth, I kept chickening out. Finally, I asked myself: "Oh, hell — why not?" Instantly, damn good reasons why not came to mind. One was shame. Forget that, I thought, no one else will ever know about this.

              

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There was also the masculinity issue — but then I once, on an airplane ride home after being dumped by a woman I loved, started to cry while watching Father of the Bride Part II. Finally, there was the prospect of pain. Both from the way I had ass fucked Peg and the way she had treated my ass so far, I knew she would not be gentle, and gentle isn't really what I signed on for, anyway. Whatever else it might be, ass fucking is not a halfway kind of experience — if you're in it for a penny, you're in it for a pounding.

I reached the point where thinking about reasons why I shouldn't was unhelpful — the matter at hand was survival, and I had to focus on that. Peg strapped on the dildo. Boyfriend bent over.

I'm a "just do it" kind of fellow. Always have been. My mother often recounted seeing four-year-old me climbing the ladder to the high-diving board and running off the edge. Same approach as when I went skydiving, when I bungee-jumped off a bridge, or when I'm perched at the top of a ski slope. Indecision prolongs the unpleasantness, and retreat is shameful. So I gird myself and let go, losing myself in a rush of adrenaline. Whatever is going to happen will all be over quickly enough.

Let me tell you something about getting fucked in the ass. When you're getting fucked in the ass, things do not speed up. In fact, one might even say that when you're getting fucked in the ass, time seems to stand still. What did it feel like to be bent over and fucked in the ass by a woman with a strap-on dildo? I felt like her bitch. I felt like a little bitch with my ass in the air letting myself get fucked hard. Giving my ass up to be fucked because I wanted to be taken like a little bitch. Why did I feel that way? Because Peg was just about shouting: "You're my bitch! A little bitch with your ass in the air so I can fuck it hard! You're giving me your ass to be fucked because you want it like a little bitch!"

And I thought I was taking it like a man. Ouch. She had my complete attention. After several minutes of this treatment, I felt intoxicated, and ground my face into the pillow to muffle my voice. I considered whether it was permissible to scream. Given what was going on, I would be within my rights to scream. Certainly, I wanted to scream.

I considered whether it was permissible to scream.

Then there was no thinking. I screamed into the pillow. As soon as I started screaming, I came all over the sheets, and when Peg realized what was happening, she fucked me even harder, making me scream louder until I could take it no longer and lurched away from her with a plea: "Let me live." Released, I crumpled in a heap.

After she was finished with me, Peg left me alone for a few minutes, understanding that I needed it. As I lay there, I found myself reflective. Would this kind of treatment be something I would crave in the future? You see people whose lives are shaped by their sexual needs. They change the way they dress, they pierce and tattoo, and they find others like themselves and organize, all because what they felt during a sexual act woke up something irresistible. Whither goes this bum-fucking, I wondered.

The issue is, as Schopenhauer observed: "We can do as we will, but we cannot will what we will." I really hate writers who quote Schopenhauer when writing about sex, but my point is only that sex can change people in drastic and unexpected ways as new possibilities are explored. How did my exploration change me? Maybe I can explain it this way — when asked for his thoughts after visiting a male brothel, Voltaire opined: "Once a philosopher, twice a pervert." So okay, I went on to find out that I am no philosopher; but on the bright side, I just barely qualify as a pervert. Sometimes we have to do what we will more than once, in order find out what will do.

           
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Leo Stark resides in New York City.
©2009 Leo Stark and Nerve.com